Senior Trump Campaign advisor Mercedes Schlapp tweeted this after Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s ABC TownHall:
“Well @JoeBiden @ABCPolitics townhall feels like I am watching an episode of Mister Rodgers Neighborhood” (she spelled ‘Rodgers’ wrong- it’s Rogers)
First, Ms. Schlapp has gotten dragged pretty hard over the internet and social media for thinking this would be seen as an insult. Second, so many people have come forward and said they’d like to live in Mr. Biden’s neighborhood.
So would I. And here’s why:
It’s a place where values like kindness, compassion, and empathy are the norm, and are seen as great strengths and not weaknesses.
It’s a place where everyone is welcome: white, black, brown, straight, gay, transgender, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Atheist. It’s where the immigrant family is welcomed with open arms. It’s where hate and division don’t live.
It’s where people don’t work a ton of hours and come home when it’s dark and their kids are asleep. It’s a place where people can work from home if they choose so they can take the family for a walk after dinner when the sun is still up.
It’s where everyone looks in on their elderly or homebound neighbors and makes sure they’re looked after and taken care of. It’s a place where they don’t set off fireworks for the veterans whose wars will never fully leave them.
It’s not a bygone era of 1950’s era suburban utopia. That was built just for white people being told to flee the cities and leave them to rot. This is a new way of living that is for both the cities and small towns of America. It’s where no neighborhood is left to rot, or gentrify over and over.
It’s a place where the air and water are clean and clear, and where power comes from the sun. Where there is green, and food grown from the soil of the land.
It’s not a utopia where nothing bad happens. It’s a world where some families earn over half a million dollars a year in income, and some earn less than fifty-thousand dollars a year in income. It’s where some battle addictions to drugs and alcohol, and memories of past abuse and neglect.
But most of all, in addition to kindness, compassion, and empathy, it’s a place of hope. It’s where people feel like their children will have a better future, that they’ll do better in life. Where every child gets an education that won’t bankrupt them.
It’s a world where people can vote easily and in every election, where people get involved in their government and how it’s run.
It’s a world where people think for themselves, think critically of the world around them, and see through fear-mongering and hate-speech. Where they see through slick corruption, and know what law and order truly means. It’s a world where there is equal justice for all.
For me, one of the worst things over the last four years is how values like kindness, compassion, and empathy have been scorned or turned into values only for a few and in a very limited way.
The current president we have here in the United States may be the worst we’ve ever had. He’s a raging, fear-monger with no compassion or empathy. Even previous Republican presidents like Bush or Regan were able to show compassion and empathy even as their policies and leadership skills didn’t. This election is a reckoning for the type of leadership we truly want, and the leadership I want is one that not only shows compassion and empathy, but pursues it in policy, too.
So in the end here, I do want to live in Mr. Biden’s neighborhood. It’s not being burned to the ground. It’s not where the KKK and Nazis openly parade around. It’s not where people believe in conspiracy theories and deny public health protocols in order to save lives. It’s a world where people care about each other, and want a better life for everyone.
I want to live in a world of button-down cardigans and sneakers, not red hats and AR-15’s.
I want to live in a world where you don’t have to become the oppressor in order not to be oppressed. That’s not how it works, especially in Mr. Biden’s neighborhood.